Extra help with your housing costs

If you need help paying rent or other housing costs you might be able to get a one-off payment.

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is for help with rent or housing costs if you can't pay your rent or housing costs any other way. 

We're given a set amount of money from the government each year for DHPs and when this has gone there is no more. You normally won’t get more than one DHP unless there are exceptional circumstances.

A payment is only a short-term emergency measure and can't cover your housing costs longer term.

We can't give payments for:

  • help with council tax
  • rent increases because of outstanding arrears
  • service charges not covered by housing benefit

You can apply for a DHP if you're a council tenant, registered housing tenant or a private tenant. 

You must:

  • live in Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable or the surrounding villages
  • be entitled to housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • be able to prove that you have tried other ways to pay your housing costs
  • have a bank, building society, post office or other account that we can pay a DHP into

If you're applying for help with a rent deposit or rent in advance you should apply before your tenancy starts. You'll need to give us evidence of the deposit or rent amount from your landlord.

You should apply as soon as possible for general help with your housing costs.

When you apply we'll look at:

  • your income including any benefits you get
  • your savings
  • if you have any loans or debts
  • if there is anyone in your house that could help you 
  • if anyone in your house is ill or disabled
  • what you have done to try and pay your rent or housing costs

Apply for a DHP

What happens after you apply

We'll write to you with a decision within 14 working days of your application. 

If your application is successful we'll tell you:

  • the weekly or total amount of the award
  • how long you will get the payment for (if this applies)
  • how and when we'll pay it - we normally pay by BACS directly into a bank or rent account

If you get housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, the maximum amount of money you will get is the difference between the amount of benefit you get and the rent you need to pay after any ineligible service charges.

A single payment for a rent deposit or rent in advance won't usually be more than four weeks or one month of rent, depending on the tenancy agreement.

If you're not successful we'll tell you the reasons why.